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Retired officer shares knowledge with Mexican counterparts

January 31, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Mark Pavilons

When you serve the public, you never completely retire.
A retired police officer from King has decided to share his knowledge and expertise with Mexican law enforcement personnel.
Doug Ransom, has done some ride-alongs with the Chapala Police in Mexico.
His connection with that area dates back to 2014, when Ransom was a Metro Toronto Police officer. He helped teach Chapala officers principles reflective of policing in Toronto, and it became apparent that the local police needed strategies to improve its rapport with the public.
“Out of that need, I came up with a strategy whereby local expat organizations would fund the acquisition of boxes of apples and uniform police officers would hand them out to kids on ‘Three Kings Day’ or what is referred to elsewhere as the Epiphany, which is the last day of the Christmas season in Mexico,” Ransom explained.
“The strategy worked so effectively that, except for one year given Covid-19, the practice has occurred for nine years and always been reported in two news outlets, the English-language, Guadalajara Reporter, and the bilingual publication, the Laguna Weekly.”
Ransom reflects about a case that is forever imprinted on his mind. On Feb. 10, 2014 an Ottawa couple was murdered in the lakeside area of Ajijic in Mexico. Ransom winters annually in the same community. Several days later, he read in the local newspapers that a memorial service for the couple would take place that day at 11 a.m.
“I contacted the Chapala Police and informed them that I was retired police officer from Canada and commented that they might want to deploy a couple of officers to the memorial in case attendees had information to assist the police in its investigation. The officer commented that the police were unaware of the scheduled memorial service and that he would bring the information to the attention of the chief. Once informed of the planned memorial, the chief opted to attend the service in uniform earlier in order to request an opportunity to speak to the gathering in attendance. When the chief spoke, he extended his sympathy on behalf of the local government, the police service, and the local community. His actions were well received by everyone in attendance.
“Given his initiative that saw him decide to personally attend, I felt he was a progressive leader. I then decided I was reach out to him in order to make a proposal. Once we met, I told him that when I returned in fall of the year, if he was in agreement, I would bring along a Toronto police uniform and would become an auxiliary officer and do ride-alongs to chat about policing practices in Canada.”
So, in the fall of 2014, Ransom’s new role began.
He was assigned to do a ride-along with two uniformed bilingual officers. That first shift was interesting as they exchanged stories about policing practices in the two different jurisdictions.
During the shift, one of the matters mentioned by them was that there was an area where young boys had started pelting police vehicles with stones as the police patrol vehicles drove by.
Out of that discussion evolved the first consideration.
With Christmas Day approaching, Ransom suggested that the police acquire boxes of candy canes and on Christmas Eve drive through their respective patrol area community and hand them out to kids as they drove by.
It was decided that instead of candy canes on Christmas Eve, the police should acquire and hand out apples on Three Kings Day, which is always held on Jan. 6 and is the last day of the Christmas season in Mexico. It is also the main gift-giving day given it is known as Epiphany elsewhere, the day that the Three Wise Men arrived in Bethlehem with their gifts for the new-born Jesus.
Thus, on January 6, uniform officers walked along the malecon (boardwalk) waterfront and main streets of the community handing out apples along with the greeting, “Happy Day of the Kings.”
The second stage of the plan unfolded the following day when kids had returned to school. With the support of the principal of the largest elementary school in the community of concern, Ransom attended with three uniform officers who handed out over 250 apples to every student in that school, doing so one class at a time.
The cost of the apples has been financed by the American Legion, the Canadian Legion, the Toronto Police Pensioners Association, and ANAVETS (Army Navy Air Force Veterans) which is another Canadian veterans organization. On three occasions, the cost for the apples was picked up by private citizens, two of those times was me.
This one small gesture has blossomed and spread throughout the community.
Ransom recommended that the local police budget money for these annual events given the positive impact they have on the rapport between the police and the public. To his knowledge the Chapala Police is the only police service in Mexico that facilitates these annual Christmas events and hopefully it will become an annual tradition.
“From my interaction with the police, I have established a great rapport with numerous members of Chapala Police. Interestingly, one of those friendships has maintained the test of time in that it is with the first officer I spoke to back in February 2014.”
“Operation Apple” was another success this year, definitely making spirits a little brighter.



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